Los Angeles Bans Outdoor Dining Without Evidence Linking It to New Cases

outdoor dining
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Public health officials in Los Angeles County ordered a ban on outdoor dining — without evidence linking outdoor eating or drinking to a claimed increase in local coronavirus infections — on Tuesday. The prohibition becomes effective at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Los Angeles County’s Public Health Department declared on Tuesday that “surging COVID-19” necessitates the decree “to avoid overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare staff” and “save lives.”

Bill Melugin, a correspondent with a local Fox News affiliate, reported on Los Angeles’s public health authorities’ claims. He highlighted the authorities inability to link outdoor dining with a “surge” in Los Angeles coronavirus cases.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the city’s public health department, urged a broader shutdown of all gatherings — public or private — with the exceptions of church services and protests.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the county’s public health department order. Despite dozens of stakeholders calling in — the meeting was held digitally via video conference, ostensibly due to coronavirus concerns — the board voted 3-2 to uphold the shutdown order against food and drink service businesses.

Kathryn Barger, who chairs the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, was one of two board members voting to overturn the lockdown order. She described it as “arbitrary” and claimed it would increase the spread of coronavirus by encouraging “private gatherings.”

Prior to this most recent decree against restaurants and bars, Los Angeles-based food and drink businesses were mandated to operate at reduced capacity. Restaurant employees were also required to wear plastic face shields while working.

Los Angeles’s officials are considering a “three-week stay-at-home order” denying freedom of movement to anyone not deemed an “essential worker” or procuring “essential services.”


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